MS Dhoni has been handed a non-bailable warrant © Getty Images
MS Dhoni has been handed a non-bailable warrant © Getty Images

A court in southern India has issued an arrest warrant for one-day international captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni over a magazine cover depicting him as a Hindu god. The court in Andhra Pradesh state granted the non-bailable warrant Friday saying skipper Dhoni failed to answer repeated summons in the case, brought by a Hindu nationalist accusing him of hurting religious sentiments. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) member filed the complaint in 2013 after Business Today magazine ran a drawing portraying Dhoni as Hindu god Vishnu holding various products representing his wide-ranging endorsement deals. “Dhoni was depicted as holding shoes, Lays chips, Pepsi,” Gopal Rao, a lawyer for petitioner Yerraguntla Shyamsundar, told AFP. “Mr. Shyamsundar filed a case as it hurt sentiments of Hindus. READ: MS Dhoni served non-bailable warrant for controversial ad ahead of India-Australia series

“The court took a serious view of (his) absence and issued the warrants,” he added. However, Dhoni’s manager denied receiving any summons. “Dhoni was never served with the summons at home nor received. I am very surprised that warrants have been issued,” Arun Pandey told AFP. The next date of hearing has been scheduled for February 25, a week before the T20 World Cup in India. The Supreme Court in 2014 had stayed criminal proceedings against the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman, who is currently in Australia to play in a series of limited-over international matches.

The Indian cricket team landed in Australia on January 6, with the ‘Men-in-Blue’ set to play once again under the captaincy of Dhoni. India are up against a second-string Western Australia XI in a couple of warm-up fixtures on Friday and Saturday at the WACA Ground in Perth, before facing a tougher test against the Steven Smith-led Australia in the first game of the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series at Perth on Tuesday.